It was great to back at a packed Selhurst Park to see a Palace side in transition secure a point against newly promoted Brentford. There were plenty of positives to take from the game even if there was a little disappointment that the Eagles could not take all three points.
21st August 2021
Crystal Palace 0-0 Brentford
Selhurst Park, Holmesdale Road, London SE25 6PU
Referee: Martin Atkinson. Assistants: Lee Betts, James Mainwaring. Fourth official: Robert Jones. VAR: Lee Mason. Assistant VAR: Simon Bennett.
BOOKINGS – Andersen (26), Norgaard (52), Benteke (59), Ward (76)
RED CARD – none
It was always going to be a tricky one against a side new to the top division and so it proved but it was a far better showing that at Chelsea on opening day with plenty to take from what was a hard fought point. The visitors posed plenty of problems which the new look defence coped with, it was the front line that miss-fired again and looks to be the main problem which will need more work whether it is in the transfer market or on the training ground.
BOB’S POINT OF VIEW
Bob White was a coach at Palace under the tenure of Steve Coppell and Alan Smith and will be sharing his point of view each week in our review article.
“The anticipation of walking along the Holmesdale Road knowing that a full capacity Selhurst Park was waiting after the unprecedented 16 months that had gone before was probably difficult to emulate in the 90 minutes of football which followed.
The game remained a slow burner for much of the time with neither team having the necessary guile to unlock the opposing defence. Palace with the two new centre back pairing of Andersen and Guehi looked very solid but only two shots on target going forward reflected where most of our issues lie.
An initial 4-1-2-3 shape reflected a difference from the Hodgson era of predominantly setting us up as a 4-4-2. However whether it’s a transitional adjustment to the demands of a new shape and philosophy or whether we currently don’t have the necessary creative personnel to deliver an offensive cutting edge, we struggled to create any consistent pressure on Brentford’s defence.
To their credit Brentford were tidy in possession and organised without the ball. Tactically they annulled any threat from Zaha who had a disappointing game. Consequently, as has been commented on many times before, it then appears to blunt most of our attacking options. It’s a conundrum Vieira quickly needs to solve.
Following our first two games, I sense we urgently require three additions before this transfer window closes. A wide right player, a creative midfielder and a striker with the future return of Olise and Eze would ensure a decent enough squad to see us safely through this season. There may be concerns in other positions but these identified areas remain a priority.
Gallagher, Andersen and Guehi have been excellent additions and certainly improved those positions in the team. It’s obviously far too premature to judge the overall merits of the transition to the Vieira reign but by the second international break in November we should have a fair idea of where our season is heading. Personally my broken record remains the priority. Ten wins as soon as possible!
Up the Palace.”
13 VICENTE GUAITA (7) – Did everything asked on him throughout the afternoon and was not particularly tested. You could argue his decision to punch clear instead of catching the ball could have caused problems but it didn’t.
2 JOEL WARD (BOOKED! – 6) – Looked very exposed for long periods of the game but did what he had to do for the most part. His booking was simply because he was beaten for pace and conceded a free kick in a dangerous are.
16 JOACHIM ANDERSEN (BOOKED! – 7) – Took a booking for upending an opponent during the first half which meant he had to be careful for the rest of the game but showed plenty of what we can look forward to, a centre back that has good feet and uses the ball well.
6 MARC GUEHI (7) – Just like Andersen, a confident ball playing centre back and his partnership with the Dane will only grow after these good early signs.
3 TYRICK MITCHELL (6) – This was a test for the young full back and while he had a couple of dubious moments which he will learn from, he did a lot of good during the game too.
23 CONOR GALLAGHER (TEB MAN OF THE MATCH! – 7) – A real shining light in the middle of the park, a very impressive debut for the club, full of energy and running. Great tackle on the edge of the box and was unlucky to score at the other end when his effort came off the bar.
18 JAMES MCARTHUR (CAPTAIN! – 7) – Led by example which included berating players when required and calming Wilf down when needed in the second half.
8 CHEIKHOU KOUYATE (6) – Back in the midfield and it looked like he had not played there in a while, which is of course the case. A little rusty for that reason but showed enough why we need him there now that we have the appropriate replacements in the centre of defence.
15 JEFFREY SCHLUPP (6) – Played as one of the front three but could not really get into the game, showed some glimpses but not enough. Replaced by 9 JORDAN AYEW (6) on 68 minutes who managed to get a good cross in to Benteke in his short time on the pitch, something that had been missing all game.
11 WILFRIED ZAHA (6) – There was hope that we would see a masterclass from Wilf in this game but it was a frustrating one for him. It is clear he wants to play as a striker but wide in a front three he clearly was not happy. Did not really see anything from him until a couple of runs later in the game.
20 CHRISTIAN BENTEKE (BOOKED! – 6) – Starved of the service he needs but should have done better with one chance that came his way. Worked hard as the focal point up front but needs more link up play coming into him to be more effective. Oh, and crosses onto his head like he proved in the second half of last season.
1 Jack Butland, 5 James Tomkins, 14 Jean-Philippe Mateta, 19 Remy Matthews, 34 Martin Kelly, 44 Jairo Riedewald, 49 Jesrun Rak-Sakyi
1 Raya, 20 Ajer, 18 Jansson, 5 Pinnock, 7 Canos, 15 Onyeka, 6 Norgaard, 27 Janelt, 3 Henry, 19 Mbeumo, 17 Toney
SUBSTITUTES – 4 Goode, 9 Forss, 11 Wissa (replaced Mbeumo on 77 mins), 14 Ghoddos (replaced Onyeka on 70 mins), 21 Dervisoglu, 28 Bidstrup (replaced Janelt on 87 mins), 29 Bech Sorensen, 30 Roerslev, 40 Fernandez
POST GAME QUOTES
PATRICK VIEIRA – “It was a really good team performance that will give us hope for the rest of the season. When there is a 0-0 at home there is always a bit of frustration because in some of the situations we didn’t make the right decision, we didn’t have enough bodies in the box when the ball was wide. But we showed improvement from the game against Chelsea and I never had any doubts about the way they were going to improve because of their work ethic.”
THOMAS FRANK – “I think we did well. Standing here, I’m slightly disappointed that we didn’t get more out of the game. I thought that we slightly edged it. I think it shows there is a belief in the group that can go to a very difficult away ground against a very experienced Premier League side and we needed to defend in spells, but the way we ended in the first half shows everything about this group.”
The Who Scored man of the match was Vicente Guaita (7.5) while the most shots were from Ivan Toney (5). The most tackles were by Sergi Canos (5) while Jeffrey Schlupp and Rico Henry (3) had the most dribbles.
- Team rating: 6.81 – 6.78
- Total shots: 7 – 14
- Shots on target: 2 – 3
- Possession: 52.7% – 47.3%
- Pass success: 75% – 71%
- Passes: 8 – 9
- Dribbles: 18 – 13
- Aerials won: 26 – 21
- Tackles: 15 – 24
- Fouls: 12 – 9
- Corners: 3 – 5
- Saves: 3 – 2
- Dispossessed: 16 – 11
POSITION IN THE TABLE
Palace are off and running with their first point of the season and at the final whistle found themselves 13th in the Premier League behind Watford and ahead of Leeds United.
24/08/2021 Watford (a) – League Cup (7.45pm)
28/08/2021 West Ham United – Premier League (3pm)
11/09/2021 Tottenham Hotspur – Premier League (12.30pm)